Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Editorial: Protect the coast

From the Greenville Daily Reflector:

It was with unintended comedy that three Republican members of the state Senate would hold a press conference calling for offshore drilling in North Carolina on the first anniversary of the BP oil catastrophe. N.C. Sen. Bob Rucho of Mecklenburg County said the timing was ironic, though “tone deaf” may have been a more apt description.

The Gulf states are still reeling from an environmental disaster that showed oil companies capable of drilling holes in the ocean floor lack the skills and equipment needed should things go wrong. That is why a majority of the state opposes a similar risk along the North Carolina coast and why any effort to open the state to drilling should be fiercely resisted. ...

The tone in North Carolina was quite different on Wednesday as three senators called for offshore exploration along the Outer Banks. Claiming that North Carolina stands to gain 6,700 jobs and generate $500 million every year, the sponsors — Rucho, Sen. Harry Brown of Onslow County and Sen. Tommy Tucker of Union County — called for the state to enter a compact with Virginia and South Carolina to create a regional partnership for drilling. ...

They underestimate the people of this state, whose opposition to drilling is well reasoned. The Outer Banks is one of the state's most critical environmental resources and a source of millions in revenue each year. Residents along the gulf can readily attest to the risks of offshore drilling, and North Carolina would be better served to heed their warnings rather than the sponsors of this bill.

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